Last update: January 21, 2022
Sports betting in Ontario is legal through the provincial lottery, but a commercial market is not yet operational.
Canadian lawmakers passed C-218 June 22, 2021, a bill to remove the federal prohibition on single-game betting throughout Canada and allow individual provinces like Ontario to regulate single-game sports betting. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation launched its expanded sports betting product in August 2021.
While regulators plan to open the market to commercial operators, sportsbooks likely will not launch until at least March 2022. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario opened its application and registration process in September 2021 for applicants looking to enter the commercial internet gaming market.
According to the Canadian Gaming Association, an estimated $10 billion is bet annually through illegal operations with ties to organized crime. Another estimated $4 billion is bet with offshore unlicensed operators. Just an estimated $500 million is bet through legal lottery-run sportsbooks.
What’s happening in ON sports betting right now
- January 19, 2022 — During its fiscal year 2021 review and 2022 outlook, Entain and MGM Resorts confirmed plans to launch BetMGM into Canada, including Ontario‘s open commercial market, in 2022. With Ontario likely the first province to open to online gaming operators, BetMGM plans both online sportsbook and online casino.
- January 18, 2022 — With the Ontario sports betting and iGaming market expected to open to commercial online operators this month, a major casino owner in the province suggests the province will lose out on $550 million each year for five years by opening up. Great Canadian Gaming commissioned the study to attempt to sway the government from opening up the gaming sector.
- January 11, 2022 — NorthStar Gaming announced a partnership with Playtech for its technology to launch online casino and sports betting in Canada. The company plans to launch its offerings when Ontario opens to commercial operators this year. NorthStar also has an advertising and marketing agreement with Torstar Corp., the parent company of the Toronto Star, one of the largest newspapers in the country.
- January 10, 2022 — With Ontario opening sometime in 2022 to commercial sportsbooks, PointsBet Canada continues to position itself for the market announcing a deal with the NHL Alumni Association. The deal makes PointsBet the NHLAA’s exclusive sports betting partner in Canada as well as an official partner in the United States.
- January 3, 2022 — Casinos in Ontario will close for three weeks because of new COVID-19 restrictions in place by the provincial government. The establishments will cease all programming until Jan. 26. Retail sports betting in the province has yet to launch.
- December 20, 2021 — Penn National Gaming announced Score Digital Sports Ventures, or theScore Bet, secured Gaming Laboratories International GLI-33 certification and the sportsbook’s intentions to launch in Ontario. The market will likely launch in early 2022.
- December 16, 2021 — The Toronto Star reports the advertising spree of commercial gaming and sports betting operators in Ontario has started. Five companies, including Bet99, Odds Sharks, Jackpot City, PokerStars and Party Casino, purchased ad spots during the CFL‘s Grey Cup broadcast. Bet99 earlier secured the helmet sponsorship of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.
- December 9, 2021 — Regulators are struggling to figure out how to bring gray market sports betting operators into the regulated market, according to industry sources. The sources told LSR the commercial sportsbook launch could be pushed back until at least March 2022.
- November 30, 2021 — Publicly-traded Intema Solutions applied to be a registered iGaming and sports betting provider in Ontario. The company has plans to become one of the leading esports betting platforms in the world and will apply to regulated markets accordingly, according to the company.
- November 24, 2021 — A spokesperson from the Ministry of the Attorney General told LSR the province continues to work toward launching its commercial iGaming market, which will include sports betting. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is also working toward launching retail sportsbooks at the casinos in the province.
Is sports betting legal in Ontario?
There is legal sports betting right now in Ontario. Anyone looking to place a bet in Ontario must bet through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and its ProLine+ product.
Commercial operators offering single-game sports betting in Ontario could be available by Spring 2022.
The future of Ontario sports betting online
Online sports betting is available through the province’s lottery on ProLine+.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario wants an open market that will allow operators like Toronto-based theScore, PointsBet, FanDuel, and DraftKings. An open market could open by March 2022.
What’s next for Ontario sports betting
Bettors in Ontario should prepare for a flood of legal choices. There will be plenty of interest in landing an Ontario sports betting license from domestic companies as well as the big US operators. BetMGM, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, PointsBet and more will likely be interested in the Ontario online sports betting market.
Domestic companies like sports media giant Score Media and Gaming, which launched theScore Bet in multiple US states, hope to use its Canadian influence to secure market share. Penn National Gaming acquired Score Media in 2021.
Woodbine Entertainment, which handles about 80% of the pari-mutuel wagering in Ontario through its distribution network, is also excited about the potential. The company hired former sports executive Michael Copeland as its chief commercial officer to help direct the company’s sports betting efforts.
Local media giants Rogers and Bell are also looking for sports betting opportunities throughout Canada.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the province’s gaming regulator, released a draft of regulations in July, with comments due August 18. An Auditor General’s report from December suggested it might be better to separate those roles.
Ontario vs. Pennsylvania sports betting
Ontario is clearly the crown jewel for sports betting operators seeking to enter the market in Canada.
The province is the largest by population with an estimated 14.8 million residents as of the first quarter of this year. That would make it the fifth-biggest US state, ranking above Pennsylvania’s 13 million residents. Only California, Texas, Florida, and New York have more residents.
Pennsylvania sports betting is one of the breakout stars in terms of US sports betting success. It ranks third in terms of handle ($9.4 billion USD) and revenue ($724.5 million USD) behind New Jersey and Nevada since the fall of PASPA in May 2018.
Ontario also shares a border with Michigan, one of the most recent entrants into the legal US sports betting market. Michigan sportsbook apps launched in January 2021, and with Detroit only a stone’s throw away from Toronto, the new market likely did not go unnoticed.
Latest Ontario sports betting news
Legal betting options in Ontario
The only legal betting options in Ontario are run by the OLG ProLine, which for years required parlays of two or more wagers per bet. ProLine+ launched Aug. 27, the first day single-event wagering was allowed in Canada.
There are 28 casinos throughout Ontario, according to the OLG. Here are some of the casinos that might offer full-fledged sportsbooks. These also happen to be some of the largest in the province:
- Operated by: Caesars Entertainment
- Address: 377 Riverside Drive East
- Location: Windsor, ON, N9A 7H7
- Operated by: Mohegan Gaming
- Address: 5705 Falls Ave
- Location: Niagara Falls, ON, L2E 6T3
- Operated by: One Toronto Gaming
- Address: 555 Rexdale Blvd
- Location: Etobicoke, ON, M9W 5L1
Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie
- Operated by: Gateway
- Address: 30 Bay St.
- Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 7A6
Pickering Casino Resort
- Operated by: One Toronto Gaming
- Address: 888 Durham Live Avenue
- Location: Pickering, ON, L1W 0C1
Sports betting partnerships
Sports betting operators are already getting ready for the launch of single-game betting in Canada. DraftKings made the first splash, though it was not specifically betting-related. The company expanded its daily fantasy sports deal with the NFL to include Canada, making it the league’s exclusive DFS partner in both the US and Canada.
The first deal to mention Canadian sports betting specifically came between the PGA Tour and theScore Bet. The deal made theScore Bet an official betting operator of the PGA Tour in both the US and Canada, making it the first official betting partner for the PGA in Canada.
More announcements started coming in June 2021. BetMGM announced two hockey deals that should help its reach in the Great White North. The first was a partnership with NHL great Wayne Gretzky to become a brand ambassador. The next deal came a day later as BetMGM became the exclusive sports betting partner of The Hockey News.
PointsBet secured a deal with Curling Canada, the governing body of the popular winter sport.
Most popular sports to bet on in Ontario
There are five professional sports teams in Ontario that should draw plenty of betting attention from residents.
It should not surprise anyone that Ontario has two NHL franchises. Canada’s obsession with hockey runs deep, as does Ontario’s ties with its two teams. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators should see plenty of single-game betting action should C-218 pass.
Also plenty popular are the Toronto Raptors, who took home the NBA Championship in 2019. MLB‘s Toronto Blue Jays and MLS‘ Toronto FC also have loyal fan bases which could turn into loyal bettors.
NFL and CFL betting
There’s also no denying the popularity of football throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada. The Canadian Football League canceled its 2020 season but plans to return in 2021, meaning a return to the field for the three Ontario-based teams: the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Ottawa Redblacks, and the Toronto Argonauts.
But there’s also plenty of enthusiasm for the NFL and the Super Bowl, especially the Buffalo Bills. Given the Bills’ recent turnaround, the team could become the most-heavily bet in Ontario if single-game betting is legalized.
Ontario and daily fantasy sports
It is legal to enter daily fantasy sports contests in Ontario.
Is horse betting legal in Ontario?
Yes, both horse racing and betting on horse racing are legal in Ontario. The industry is overseen by Ontario Racing with 15 tracks located throughout the province.
There are multiple websites and apps approved for horse racing betting in Ontario, or bets can be placed at the tracks.
Ontario sports betting timeline
2021: Single-game sports betting is here with C-218 all the way through the parliament. The bill received full House approval in April and the Senate in June 2021. Individual provinces will handle the regulations, with an effective date of Aug. 27 — when many provincial lotteries expanded their product offerings. Ontario moves forward with draft regulations to govern an open market with PointsBet, BetRivers, DraftKings and other sports betting sites gearing up for launch in the province. Launch dates are still a moving target.
2020: Private member Kevin Waugh introduced C-218 in February, but there was very little action that year. The bill didn’t get its second reading until nearly a year later in February 2021.
One notable development in 2020 came in June when multiple professional leagues jointly issued their support of single-game betting in Canada.
2016: The second attempt to legalize single-game sports betting last decade in Canada fails.
2012: The first attempt to legalize Canadian single-game sports betting last decade passed the House, but it would go no further. The Senate failed to act on the legislation for years.
2011: C-290 is introduced by Joe Comartin. It’s the first attempt of the decade to end the federal ban on single-game sports betting in Canada.
1992: ProLine officially launches in Ontario in October.
Will online casinos launch with online sports betting in Ontario?
Ontario already has an online casino option through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission. The province wants an open commercial operator market, including iCasino.
Where can I place a bet in Ontario?
Sports bettors can place bets online or through lottery retailers. Commerical sportsbooks could launch by March 2022.
Will there be mobile sports betting in Ontario?
There is already legal mobile sports betting in Ontario through the OLG’s product, ProLine+. A commercial online market is expected to launch by March 2022.
Who oversees sports betting in Ontario?
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regulates all gaming in Ontario.
When will single-game sports wagering launch in Ontario?
There is single-game sports betting in Ontario through the lottery’s ProLine+ product. Commerical sports betting will likely launch by March 2022.